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Iraq says free of swine flu
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12:23, May 01, 2009

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Iraq confirmed on Thursday that the country is free of the deadly swine flu disease and that precautions have been taken after a warning was issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture said "Iraq is totally free of the swine flu disease," and "there is no any case that has been registered yet."

The statement said the ministry has already taken necessary precautions to prevent the disease from entering the country.

Ihsan Jaafar, head of the public health office in the Ministry of Health, said his ministry has allocated some 30 million U.S. dollars to support precaution measures.

Officials from the health ministry are monitoring the border points and airports to check those who enter the country, Jaafar said.

He said hospitals in the country remain on stand-by to deal with any suspicious cases, calling for providing health centers with the necessary laboratory materials.

Swine influenza is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs. Symptoms in humans generally include upper respiratory problems, but the air-borne illness can cause severe pneumonia and death.

The WHO raised its six-tier alert to Phase 5 on Wednesday, the second-highest, and warned that a pandemic declaration may come soon. It urged countries to make final preparations to deal with a virus that may sweep across the globe.

Source: Xinhua



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